While walking through Auckland's CBD wearing Dyson's first foray into the headphone game, I was hearing new sounds in my favourite songs while everyone was staring at me.
I had $1,200 worth of industry-leading technology on my head, covering my ears and wrapped around my mouth and nose. I could hear and feel where all the money went but I suspect my fellow pedestrians had no clue what was going on.
Well, pedestrians: They’re called Dyson Zones and are costly, incredible and come with an air-purifying visor that will have you looking like a failed DC superhero.
The visor is truly strange but weirdly cool and futuristic. But first things first: The sound quality on Dyson Zones is the best I've come across.
Their crack team of engineers worked on them for six years before release and that’s immediately apparent when you first hit play. Dyson says that their “audio replicates sound as the artist intended” and I'd bet they are right.
In Chase and Status’ latest album ‘2 Ruff, Vol 1.’, I heard every synth, chop and hi-hat on my way to chucking nearly every song into my go-to playlist.
In Daft Punk’s ‘Get Lucky’ I suddenly realised I'd been ignoring the fact its guitar strums throughout the song. I don't know what I thought before, but the Zones made it so clear. I also heard every breath Pharell takes in the song and little tiny instrumental sounds that you’d only otherwise notice if you took a God-level edible.
I really can’t emphasise enough how good music sounds in Dyson Zones.
Thanks to the massive ear muffs, the noise cancelling works well even when the headphones are turned off. When they're on, eight microphones are purely dedicated to noise-cancelling and it works great, but it’s not perfect.
Travelling with them on the train, I could still hear the clock-off commotion going on - but I’ve yet to come across any headphones that can cancel that racket out. They are great to use in the office to drown out your co-worker’s weekend chat and to use around the house when you're flatmate's shit yarns won't stop.
Side note: When you change from the lesser setting (transparency) to the higher setting (isolation) using the MyDyson app, it makes an incredibly pleasing 'thwump' sound.
With the sound being so great, it really did make me wonder why Dyson decided to add this visor to it. They say their visor will protect you from dangerous particles in the air, and there's heaps of evidence that there's plenty of those floating around - even in Aotearoa.
Dyson Zones counteract all this by filtering the air through the ear muffs, allowing you to breathe purified air through the visor. Dyson's whole shtick is airflow and filtration so if anyone's going to solve this in the form of a consumer good, it's them.
The visor magnetically connects to the bottom of the ear muffs, wraps around the front of your face and, after adjustment, sits in front of your nose and mouth. There are three different intensity settings, or the automatic mode which tracks your movement and adjusts accordingly.
It’s actually very relaxing to have clean air blow right into your mouth and nose but you just looked like a damn fool wearing them. Wearing them in public means you're getting eyeballed more than the last snag at the crate day BBQ.
I don't know if I'm any healthier because of wearing them - the MyDyson app said their air quality in my areas was good to teetering on average so I may have saved a cough or two. I struggle to see an immediate future where there'll be visors galore in public, but if the air keeps on getting worse and worse, why not?
Other than the weirdness of the visor, the headphones are super convenient to wear. They are heavy but comfortable, there's a joystick on the back of one ear muff that controls the music (pause, next song, volume) and the battery lasts for a whopping 50+ hours, but this decreases to four if you're using the visor.
There's all the good stuff most of the other latest headphones have: They pause when you take them off, there's left-to-right audio, and you can adjust the noise cancelling so that it lessens when you speak, allowing you to chat while wearing them.
If you do have a spare 1.3k lying around, want to experience the best possible audio quality and be prepared for the incoming polluted air apocalypse, then definitely cop these.
Just get a calming playlist ready any time you go in public to distract you from the fact you are the craziest-looking thing on the sidewalk.